Let's not get too carried away with Matt Blanchard, although I think there's enough there to like that if the Bears were to waive him, he'd get snapped up by another team that could use a developmental third. His stats yesterday weren't great, he overthrew a few guys pretty severely and missed a few others badly, but he kept the game winning drive alive by making a pair of really nice throws to Evan Rodriguez. That might say more about Rodriguez than Blanchard, but Blanchard still had to hit Rodriguez, which he did in stride.
Next, to Robert Griffin III. Griffin was miserable last night - he was skittish, he was hesitant, and the speed of the defense was giving him fits when it came to his mobility. But yesterday, it didn't help Griffin that the Bears' offensive line unit might have been the better unit between the two, and the defensive line and pressure was all over him. Griffin can throw, but I can't remember too many clear pockets, clear throwing lanes, or clear escape routes that Griffin had to utilize.
Shea McClellin recorded only one tackle all night, but he was fantastic except for one rookie mistake - the push inside on Griffin's 14-yard scramble. Once he got inside, Israel Idonije was easily sealed off from his inside position and Griffin gained the edge, rushing easily for the first. McClellin has to hold contain better on that play. Apart from that, McClellin was stellar. His spin move to get past the left tackle and lay a hit on Cousins was a thing of beauty.
Now, onto the offensive line. I thought the offensive line played pretty well, particularly with regards to Jay Cutler behind the helm. Yes, there were some quick hitters and three-steps, but there was a seven-step that Cutler cut short, stepped up and hit Brandon Marshall on the left side; there was a play-action that Cutler had all day to throw. Cutler also displayed his solid pocket presence - on one play, as Webb drove a rusher behind Cutler (!), Carimi lost his hold on his rusher, but still got behind Cutler, and Cutler used that escape route to run out for a nice gain.
Speaking of, Chris Spencer was again the weakest offensive lineman on the field. Chilo Rachal came in, typically next to Chris Williams, and that seemed to be a better overall pair than Webb and Spencer. But to be completely honest, I had a hard time differentiating Webb's play and Williams' play. Left tackle really wasn't a concern. I'm just not sure if Spencer has anything - he's been really rough.
The offensive line gave up three sacks this game, but really, there wasn't a lot to be pinned on the line. Jason Campbell took a sack that could have been timed on a sundial if it were in daylight, and he still holds onto the ball an inordinate amount of time longer than Cutler does. The second sack, immediately after, was just overwhelming on the offensive line - had Campbell not taken the first sack, I highly doubt he takes the second. The third sack was on Josh McCown, and the offensive line just got beat. Overall, I came away impressed with pass protection.
I do want to know where Gabe Carimi is hiding, and what it'll take to get him to show up. He didn't have a good game yesterday.
Defensive tackle play has been fun to watch. Nate Collins and Brian Price really were disruptive. If it comes down to one of those two for the final defensive tackle spot, Price may get the edge for being a trade target, but the draft pick was conditional, meaning if he makes the roster, Tampa gets the seventh-rounder. So for all intents and purposes, it's even.
The Sam Rosen Drinking Game: If he gives the wrong first name to a player, drink. Oh, and I don't care much for Sam Rosen.
Speaking of don't care much, I gave props to the replacement refs last week. This time, I'd like to recollect those props in spades. Last night's officiating was a clown show - bad pass interference calls, et cetera.
And speaking of clown shows, how about that special teams coverage on the Redskins' punt return for a touchdown? The returner beat one man and just outraced everyone to the end zone, including Adam Podlesh, the last line of defense who came up with a hip strain.
As bad as the coverage was on the punt return, they had to come out on fire after Toub ripped them a new one in the locker room at halftime. Lorenzo Booker sure got the message, and he got some superb blocking to go with it.
Alshon Jeffery wants to play. On the field. Like, now. He can't retaliate DeAngelo Hall's helmet-shot like that, but he's not taking any crap from anyone, particularly as a receiver.
So how does Kirk Cousins light up even the Bears backups to the tune of a 154.1 quarterback rating? Seriously? It's not like he wasn't under the pressure Griffin was, but three touchdowns on 18 receptions assists that, as with no interceptions and 264 yards. But there was a lot of run-after-catch that just can't happen. In fact, tackling in general was a problem all night.
So that's what an actual offense looks like. The first offensive play of the game was a beautiful sideline throw to Marshall that he adjusted to for the catch for 41 yards.
With Urlacher out, linebacker play was a little off, but Nick Roach filled in pretty well. Blake Costanzo and JT Thomas both had pretty good games, and Thomas especially is under some heavy pressure to make the team, as the (pretty much) seventh man on the chart.
As far as the running game goes, the run blocking was really weak early on, but on both rushing touchdowns, the blocking was superb, especially with the addition of Tyler Clutts making a nice lead block keeping the hole open for Bush to push through.
Where was Corey Wootton? He didn't make much of an impact that I noticed.